Wine made from milk

Discussion in 'Special Interest Wines' started by Tracy Poe, Jun 8, 2019.

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  1. Jun 8, 2019 #1

    Tracy Poe

    Tracy Poe

    Tracy Poe

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    I make a very successful milk wine. The ingredients are 1 gallon fat free milk--(Whole milk makes a lot of farmers cheese) 7 cups sugar--(you can't correctly read a hydrometer in milk but 7 cups of sugar per gallon works fine), 1 can lime aid frozen concentrate--(milk wine has good body but the lime aid adds needed acid), 1 Camden tablet--3 pounds mashed jalapenos in cheese cloth. Ferment 6 days in a bucket, six weeks in carboys then six months in carboys then bottle and age six months. I designed this as a cooking wine but many of my friends like to drink it. I have successfully made it for years now. You can basically make milk wine with any sugar wine recipe just replace the water with skim milk.
     
  2. Jun 8, 2019 #2

    cmason1957

    cmason1957

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    What is the benefit of using milk at $3 or more / gallon to using water that is almost free or, if I have to buy it at the store is $0.89 / gallon?
     
  3. Jun 9, 2019 #3

    Tracy Poe

    Tracy Poe

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    In my experience, the milk gives the wine body so that you do not need as much fruit. As long as you compensate for the lack of acid you are good to go. It should be noted that my end product was designed as a cooking wine and new bottles for bottling cost more than the wine inside. 20476239_10209770395118777_5495351487604458036_n.jpg Many of my friends and family like to drink it and it has a very good flavor if you don't mind jalapeno. I used Red Star Champagne yeast and the only fruit in mine is 3 pounds ground up jalapenos and a can of lime aid per gallon. My best results came from using 7 cups of sugar per gallon.

    I have seen in other forums where people played with making wine with milk but nothing serious. I have been successfully making jalapeno milk wine since the early 1990s and wanted to post about it here because it is no big mystery and milk makes a lovely wine as long as you add an acid.

    It is not for everybody but it is easy to do successfully and is surprisingly quite good.
     
  4. Jun 11, 2019 #4

    BernardSmith

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    Hi Tracy Poe and welcome. I have been experimenting making wine using the whey left over from my cheese making and the pH of this whey suggests that the whey is quite acidic... (I make hard cheese and so add cultures to the milk which acidify the whey but that whey is known as sweet whey, but you can add say, lemon juice to make soft cheese and that produces what is called an acidic whey). But here's the thing: normal wine making yeast cannot ferment lactose (milk sugars) so none of the lactose is going to be fermented (I have been experimenting with the use of yeasts that are in the "consortium" known as kefir grains and that scoby does contain K-marxianus and K-marxianus is a yeast that can ferment lactose... Whey has a gravity of about 20 points (1.020) so in principle one COULD simply add enough lactose to water to raise the gravity by 20 points and then add the rest of your ingredients.
     
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  5. Jun 14, 2019 at 5:19 PM #5

    Tracy Poe

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    Thank you for your reply Mr. Smith. It is refreshing to see someone who has seriously made wine from dairy. I have seen only one other blog post where a guy made wine from milk. It is not a popular pastime. I would love to make wine from whey like you describe. I believe that this is how people make it in Mongolia (mare's milk) and Tibet (yak's milk), two of the places I found that make a wine from milk. I never even thought about fermenting the milk fat with special yeast like you describe because by my second try I opted for fat free milk to avoid making a byproduct of curds. I find your expertise on the subject very impressive and I thank you for sharing this knowledge with me. I believe milk as a wine medium is grossly underappreciated as most wine makers are put off by the inevitable ick-factor generated by the unusual ingredient and rarely take it past halfhearted experimentation. In my experience milk wine works fine and it the least expensive wine recipe I have ever crafted. I believe my last batch was right at $1.33 a bottle making the bottles and zork closures more expensive at about $1.50 per unit.
     
  6. Jun 14, 2019 at 5:51 PM #6

    BernardSmith

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    Not sure that I consider myself an "expert" on milk wine, but there is one thing that I would disagree with in your reference to milk fat. The fat in milk is great for cheese but what you are doing when you make cheese - or wine FROM milk - as opposed to making wine ON milk is you are converting sugars - not the fat - in the milk - to alcohol. Wine, beer, and bread yeast for the most part all belong to the same strain: c. Saccharomyces ,and C. Sacc cannot ferment lactose. Kumis - the Mongolian horse milk wine is a wine made from lactose, as is an old Scottish wine known as blaand. I am not certain how either was made but I am certain that both the Mongolians and the Scots used yeast strains that were capable of fermenting lactose (brewers use lactose in milk stouts because the lactose adds mouthfeel, sweetness and cannot be fermented by ale yeast. I suspect that the Mongolians used pouches that had been inoculated with k.Marxianus cells and the Scots likely used wooden kegs as their fermenters that had been inoculated with strains of Brettanomyces some of which can ferment lactose and which also love the sugars found in wood.

    All that said, there is a pleasant "brightness" to wines made from whey perhaps because of the presence of lactic acid (lactic bacteria will compete with yeast to convert lactose to lactic acid, so sweet whey from cheese making has a large colony of lactic bacteria (we ripen the milk with bacterial cultures before we add rennet) and unless the whey is pasteurized these cultures will continue to acidify the whey. Those who make soft cheese typically add acids (citric?) rather than cultures and that whey called acidic whey will not continue to acidify (so whatever the pH of the soft cheese is, will be the pH of the whey even days or weeks later.

    But here's the rub: if you make wine using full fat milk the yeast, as it ferments any added fermentable sugars, will acidify the milk enough to cause the milk to clabber and the curds that that clabbering produce are deliciously sweet and so can be used for a delightful soft cheese dessert. So if you are interested in experimenting with full fat milk I would use a bucket as your primary fermenter and not a carboy: you want to have a good method of removing those curds and leaving the whey behind..
     

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